Nov 3, 2011, 2:00 PM EDT
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Lefty Mark Buehrle could be an top target of the Nationals this winter.
One hundred sixty-six major-league free agents were free to begin negotiating with any club they wanted at 12:01 a.m. today, the unofficial commencement of baseball's Hot Stove League. But before you start scouring flight path websites to see where Ted Lerner's private jet has been, a word of caution: This is going to be a slow process.
Baseball's free agency period stands in stark contrast to those in the NFL and NHL, where there's a mad rush of signings the moment the clock strikes midnight. Baseball players, general managers and agents prefer to take a more calculated route toward consummating deals, letting the market establish itself over time.
In fact, there probably won't be a whole lot of players signing with new clubs for several more weeks, not until the days leading up the Dec. 5-8 winter meetings in Dallas. But the groundwork is being laid right now, as everyone tries to gauge who's in the market for what, and how much any given player is going to cost.
The Nationals' objectives this winter are clear. GM Mike Rizzo has said it since the season's final week: He's searching for a center fielderRead more »
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